New Vehicle Manufacturing Company Forms to Produce Advanced Hybrids Using Ultra-Lightweight Stainless Steel Unibody Construction

New Vehicle Manufacturing Company Forms to Produce Advanced Hybrids Using Ultra-Lightweight Stainless Steel Unibody Construction

Fisher Coachworks LLC announced on July 22, 2008 its formal launch and plans to manufacture energy optimized lightweight hybrid vehicles using advanced materials and propulsion systems, as well as new manufacturing technologies. Fisher’s launch product will be a 40’ Transit Bus that is nominally half the weight and gets twice the fuel economy of current hybrid buses on the market.

“The market is screaming for this product,” explains CEO Gregory W. Fisher. “Our first product, the 40’ Transit Bus, which represents ~70% of the buses utilized by transit authorities and fleets across the United States, is everything a 21st Century bus should be… it’s a bus that riders will want to ride, that drivers will enjoy driving, and that operators will celebrate having in their fleets.”

Fisher is the grandson of Alfred J. Fisher, one of the original Fisher brothers who on July 22nd, 1908, formed the Fisher Body Company to take advantage of the paradigm shift from carriages to cars by building chassis designs from metal, rather than wood. 100 years later, Fisher Coachworks similarly forms to capitalize on the paradigm shift from traditional vehicle architectures and powertrains, to “no compromises” energy optimized vehicles. Fisher Coachworks’ approach embraces a total vehicle systems engineering methodology, technology advances in hybrid and battery systems, as well as an innovative and patented unibody design featuring special stainless steel alloy construction.

“Our vehicle concepts are based on the strength and durability of NitronicTM stainless steel using low-cost manufacturing techniques,” explains Fisher. “This alloy has more than three times the strength of regular steel and is almost impervious to corrosion and fatigue. While the alloy is more expensive than regular automotive steel, we use less raw material, and can produce significantly lighter designs. Reduced vehicle mass is the critical enabler for fuel consumption and performance optimized hybrid vehicles.”

Fisher Coachworks’ product technology has its roots in the innovative engineering work of Autokinetics, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Commenting on the special properties of the new structural material, Autokinetics president Bruce Emmons noted that “Nitronic stainless is just incredibly durable; our chassis designs will have up to five times the design life of ordinary steel vehicles, which together with the fact that stainless is 100% recyclable, makes this an ideal green raw material for vehicle structures. We will be using Nitronic for all of our vehicle chassis, suspension components, and even some exterior panels.” As result, Fisher Coachworks may be able to offer extended warranties on some components that practically span a lifetime.

Fisher Coachworks is currently searching for 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the Detroit area to begin pre-production development. More information on Fisher Coachworks’ plans, vehicles and partners will be announced as the company completes its current funding activities.

About Autokinetics Inc.

Autokinetics is a specialized engineering design and prototype company and a source for innovative and creative design concepts for the transportation industry. Over the last seven years Autokinetics has pioneered a “total systems engineering” approach to chassis design using cold-rolled, stamped, and cast Nitronic structures under federal grants from the Argonne National Laboratory and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, agencies of the Department of Energy.

About Fisher Coachworks, LLC

Fisher Coachworks was formed in late 2007 as a new vehicle manufacturing company focused on production of advanced hybrids using an ultra-lightweight stainless steel unibody construction. By applying a total vehicle optimization engineering approach, the company is able to significantly reduce vehicle mass, and as a result, achieve step-change improvements in fuel economy, emissions and operating cost efficiency. Currently based in Troy, Michigan, the firm is searching for expanded facilities for production release engineering, pre-production vehicle builds and ultimately full production.

NitronicTM is a trademark of AK Steel Company.

For more information about Fisher Coachworks please contact:

Fisher Coachworks LLC John VanAlstyne, VP Marketing, 248-577-5100 x7702

Source: Fisher Coachworks LLC

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